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I used to cringe to see my competitors ranking near me, now I miss them dearly, cause they are gone too!
Never recovered, no matter what I tried.
I believe that was due to every page having an internal menu with same anchor text.
I've had the same problems with canonicalization. The funny thing is Google would warn about duplicate meta tags in WMT, but not those pages that were canonical related problems. I wonder why Google fails to report this in WMT when the meta tags are duplicates? Weird.
I conclude the deadly trio are a meta title too similar to the H1 heading, and a ludicrously low level of acceptability for the keyword phrase. (0.8% ? Come on....)
As an experiment,I changed the anchor text on the inlinks (it was pretty well over-optimised) and left them alone.
Do you think that having a meta title (or title tag) and h1 that are too similar is being considered over optimization?
Today serps in my vertical continue to gyrate around a few big name, 900lb gorilla sites. The stuff they are listing is so thin it's (still) laughable. Single page results with one photo and maybe one sentence.
because there's no way having a title and description that close makes for a good user experience.
Whether it gets you an OOP or not, it will almost certainly get you a title/description rewrite in the SERP, because there's no way having a title and description that close makes for a good user experience.